Elder is home to high school’s most elite tailgating

The Schaeper Center lot is the penultimate West Side pre-game destination.


It’s a Saturday morning. You awake to the smell of fallen leaves, pumpkin spice, and football. You head to your favorite team’s stadium, University of Cincinnati, The Ohio State University, University of Iowa, etc. The game does not start for another three hours, but that’s a good thing. The remaining time is spent tailgating and socializing with friends and those who share your common love for sports and team.

This is expected at most college football games. At the high school level, most parents get together before the game and do something that resembles a tailgate on a smaller scale. But here at Elder High School, nothing is just the typical. On a Friday night when the Panthers host a match in The PIT, West Siders from every direction gather in Price Hill for a tailgate that is in no way taken lightly.

One shortcoming at Elder is the amount of parking, which is extremely limited. Not all students can park on campus during the school day and will park on the adjacent streets. Similarly on a Friday night, spots are sold by the season to tailgaters, while others park on the nearby streets. Fans can also buy parking at Seton. While Seton’s parking lot also includes tailgaters, Elder’s Schaeper Center parking lot is main hub of activity.

Those who park on the street will gather here with friends who do have a spot to experience on of high school’s greatest pregame experiences. Here, you witness fans and adults with snacks and drinks and even grilling out and ordering pizza from LaRosa’s right across the way on Glenway Avenue. Kids can be seen running around, tossing football, and playing games like cornhole, ladder golf, and spikeball.

The PIT holds about 10,000 people, and is always packed. If you ask most anyone of those fans attending the game, they probably were in one of those parking lots playing and socializing before hand.

Not only beforehand but also afterwards. Following the game, the Panther faithful will gather once again in the Schaeper Center Lot and discuss the game and be with one another before they embark for home.

During the game? Must be empty, right? But it is not. If one was to meander a college tailgate, one would see tv’s playing different and/or multiple other games, right? Well, fans here at Elder stick around in the parking lot even during the game and stream it from their parking spots via our Elder News Network broadcasts.

This is not just some fabrication or exaggeration. I asked Paul Tallen, a consistent, avid Elder football tailgater and Oak Hills alumnus, about why he enjoys tailgating a high school football game for this team week after week. He told me that “the environment of an Elder tailgate cannot be found anywhere else. Meeting up with friends, family, and other fans is a great way to get ready for another Panther victory.”

He then went on the describe what this says about our great school. “Not being a graduate of Elder High School, it’s awesome to see the culture and love for the school that Elder instills in its graduates,” Mr. Tallen says. “It’s a phenomenal environment, and I’m proud to be part of it.”

Tailgating for football is just another one of those things here at Elder that one cannot just find anywhere else, as Mr. Tallen said. It is an experience one must encounter on the West Side. It is part of our Price Hill culture. It is part of what makes Elder Elder and our community so strong. The common ground, enjoyment, and happiness that pours from events like these are what create passionate environments, and it is definitely for everyone.